East Meets West - Acupuncture & Cancer: July 29, 2012

Modern medicine is constantly advancing quality care, but there’s something to be said for ancient Chinese practices. The Regional Cancer Center is interested in integrative medicine and hopes to inject some holistic pain relief to their cancer patients.

In a building devoted to modern medicine and high tech healing, there is room enough for ancient Chinese practices.

“There’s over 300 points in the body and each one has its own use...”

Leigh Reynolds puts her needles to work.

“The needles are really tiny and most of the time you don’t feel anything, it may feel like a little electrical tingle, but anything you feel is only lasts a split second and then its gone. The needles stay in for about 20 minutes and most people find it pretty relaxing,” says Reynolds, an acupuncturist with Lee Memorial Health System.

People who get acupuncture here are far from the typical client. The Regional Cancer Center delivers life-saving treatments every day, but it often comes with a price. Cancer patients can alleviate some of their side effects with a dose of holistic healing.

“When patients are having radiation and chemotherapy, they have anxiety, they have stress, nausea, vomiting, they have dry mouth, they have lymphedema, neuropathy, and acupuncture does a fabulous job,” says Reynolds.

Neuropathy is a common complaint. It’s the loss of sensation or tingling in parts of the body due to nerve damage. Reynolds inserts needles in the back and between the eyes for stress relief and if the problem is neuropathy, one between every finger and toe.

“I’m a last resort. A lot of people will go any other way other than thinking about having needles put in, but once they come in and try it, they realize that it really isn’t that scary,” says Reynolds.

East meets West in this building, as advanced treatments rid the body of cancer and age old techniques rid the body of pain.